Concussion

Concussion is an invisible epidemic in BC with young people mostly likely to be affected. In 2011, Lower Mainland emergency rooms treated 16,888 people for concussion and in 2010 hospitalizations alone (excluding pharmaceutical or rehabilitation therapy costs etc.) cost BC taxpayers $2.4 million dollars to treat this preventable injury.

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Quick Facts & Stats

Causes

  • In 2011 the leading cause of concussion was falls (32.5%), followed by sports and recreational activities (18.0%) and struck by or against an object (9.4%).1
  • In 2011 39.5% of concussion emergency department cases were children and youth up to 19 years.2
  • Sport and recreational activities contribute to about 21% of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the US.3
  • Bike helmets can prevent up to 88% of brain injuries when used properly.
  • Skiers and snowboarders who wear helmets reduce their risk for head injuries by 60%.

Occurrence

  • Concussion emergency department rates in BC in 2011 were highest among infants less than one year of age (1,930.6/100,000), followed by young children ages one to four years (1,715.0/100,000).
  • There were 16,888 emergency room visits in the Lower Mainland due to concussions in 2011. 59.4% of all concussion emergency department visits were males and 69.2% of all concussion hospitalizations among children and youth 0-19 years were males.4
  • The BC Children’s Hospital ED alone saw 1,362 children and youth with concussion and minor head injuries in 2009.5
  • In BC, there were 2,475 hospitalizations due to concussion from 2001 to 2008, averaging 309 cases per year. Of these, 43% were among children and youth 0-19 years of age, 34% among adults 20-54 years, and 23% among older adults 55 years and over.
  • The highest proportions of concussions/minor head injuries for organized sports were among 15-19 year-olds (33.2%) and 10-14 year-olds (27.7%).
  • The US Centers for Disease Control has estimated that 1.6 to 3.8 million cases of sport-related concussions occur annually in the US.6

Costs

  • Direct medical costs and indirect costs such as lost productivity totalled $60 billion in the US in the year 2000.7
  • In 2006 the average charges for children hospitalized for concussion in a US hospital surpassed $15,000.8

Prevention

catt_logoTaking steps to prevent concussion requires a combination of increased awareness and public education as well as supporting public health care professionals with up-to-date research.

BCIRPU researchers in partnership with the BC Ministry of Health have developed the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT), the first free online tool of its kind in Canada. The CATT plays a vital role in supporting physicians, health professionals, coaches, parents and players in the treatment and management of concussion and has the potential to reduce total health-care costs among concussion patients throughout BC.

Information & Resources

Helmet Resources

Featured Reports

Concussion Among Children & Youth: Fraser Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Interior Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Island Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Northern Health Authority
Concussion Among Children & Youth: Vancouver Coastal Health Authority

Rajabali F,  Ibrahimova A, Turcotte K, Babul S. (2013). Concussion among Children and Youth in British Columbia. A report prepared by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit for Child Health BC. Vancouver, BC.

Rajabali F,  Ibrahimova A, Turcotte K, Babul S. (2012). The Burden of Concussion British Columbia. A report prepared by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit for Child Health BC. Vancouver, BC.

  1. Rajabali F, Ibrahimova A, Turcotte K, Babul S. (2013). Concussion among Children and Youth in British Columbia. A report prepared by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit for Child Health BC. Vancouver, BC.
  2. See footnote 1
  3. AANS July 2010,  accessed Sept 27, 2011
  4. See footnote 1
  5. As reported by the BCCH CHIRPP database, Children’s Hospital Injury Reporting and Prevention Program
  6. Trzepacz P. Clin Neurosci. 2008; 20 (4): 504)
  7. Finkelstein E, Corso P, Miller T and associates. The Incidence and Economic Burden of Injuries in the United States. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2006
  8. Edwards K. The Cost of Concussion in Children. Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologist’s, January 28, 2010.